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Events

‘The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online’
with Houman Barekat, Joanna Walsh and Robert Barry
Wednesday 10th January, 7pm
Read more...

‘The New Poverty’ with Stephen Armstrong
Wednesday 17th January, 7pm
Read more...

‘Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today’
with Anna Feigenbaum
Wednesday 31st January, 7pm
Read more...

‘Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic! How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door’ 
Wednesday 7th February, 7pm
Read more...

‘Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right’ with Liz Fekete
Wednesday 14th February, 7pm
Read more...

‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You. Celebrating Audre Lorde’
Wednesday 21st February, 7pm
Read more...

LOCOMOTRIX EVENT
'The Fountain in the Forest and the French Republican Calendar' 
with Tony White and Dr Sanja Perovic

Thursday 22nd February, 7pm
Read more...

Left Book Club present: ‘A Party with Socialists in It: A History of the Labour Left’ with Simon Hannah
Saturday 24th February, 7pm
Read more...

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IN-STORE EVENTS at HOUSMANS

We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.

Click here for an archive; which includes a number of selected filmed highlights, of our previous events. Also, you can view video from some special events here.

Click the following button if you would like to directly add our events to your smartphone or desktop calendar using Google Calendar.

’The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online’ with Houman Barekat, Joanna Walsh and Robert Barry
Wednesday 10th January, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Our guests take stock of the so-called Literary Internet up to the present moment, and considers the future of criticism: its promise, its threats of decline, and its potential mutation, in a world of Facebook likes, Twitter wars, and Amazon book reviews.nbsp;

What do we think of when we think of literary critics? Enlightenment snobs in powdered wigs? Professional experts? Cloistered academics? Through the end of the 20th century, book review columns and literary magazines held onto an evolving but stable critical paradigm, premised on expertise, objectivity, and carefully measured response. And then the Internet happened.

From the editors of Review 31 and 3:AM Magazine, The Digital Critic (OR Books, 2017) brings together a diverse group of perspectives—early-adopters, Internet skeptics, bloggers, novelists, editors, and others—to address the future of literature and scholarship in a world of Facebook likes, Twitter wars, and Amazon book reviews. It takes stock of the so-called Literary Internet up to the present moment, and considers the future of criticism: its promise, its threats of decline, and its mutation, perhaps, into something else entirely.

With contributions from Robert Barry, Russell Bennetts, Michael Bhaskar, Louis Bury, Lauren Elkin, Scott Esposito, Marc Farrant, Orit Gat, Thea Hawlin, Ellen Jones, Anna Kiernan, Luke Neima, Will Self, Jonathon Sturgeon, Sara Veale, Laura Waddell, and Joanna Walsh.

About the Speakers

Houman Barekat reviews for the TLS, Literary Review, the Irish Times, Prospect and the London Magazine, and contributes to online journals including 3:AM, Full Stop and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the founder and managing editor of the online literary journal Review 31.

Joana Walsh is the author of HotelVertigoGrow a Pair, and Fractals. She writes literary and cultural criticism for The GuardianThe New Statesman and other magazines. She edits at 3:AM Magazine and Catapult Magazine, and runs @read_women, described by the New York Times as "a rallying cry for equal treatment for women writers."

Robert Barry writes for publications such as The Wire, Frieze, The Atlantic Monthly, BBC Music, Fact, The Quietus, Thump, Wired, and Art Review. He is the visual art editor at The Quietus and technology and digital culture editor at Review 31.

’The New Poverty’ with Stephen Armstrong
Wednesday 17th January, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

We are living in an age with unprecedented levels of poverty. Stephen Armstrong travels across Britain to tell the stories of those who are most vulnerable, betrayed by the retreat of the welfare state and considers what we can do to stop the destruction of our welfare state.

We are living in an age with unprecedented levels of poverty. Who are the new poor? And what can we do about it?

Today 13 million people are living in poverty in the UK. According to a 2017 report, 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line. The new poor, however, are an even larger group than these official figures suggest. They are more often than not in work, living precariously and betrayed by austerity policies that make affordable good quality housing, good health and secure employment increasingly unimaginable.

In The New Poverty investigative journalist Stephen Armstrong travels across Britain to tell the stories of those who are most vulnerable. It is the story of an unreported Britain, abandoned by politicians and betrayed by the retreat of the welfare state. As benefit cuts continue and in-work poverty soars, he asks what long-term impact this will have on post-Brexit Britain and—on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1942 Beveridge report—what we can do to stop the destruction of our welfare state.

Reviews

“Armstrong has gone to Wigan to expose a situation with depressing echoes of Orwell’s day: huge inequalities of wealth, comfort and life chances unaddressed by a government composed of distant, unsympathetic plutocrats and public schoolboys … The reasons for this apparent social shift, this new, ugly, public face of a lumpen proletariat Orwell rarely encountered, are many and complex. Most of them are surveyed in this forceful book. It is powerful stuff.” – Stuart Maconie, Guardian

“Back in 1936, Orwell asked why people should live in poverty and despair in one of the richest countries in the world? Now, as this book shows, the cold hand of poverty is back. It is time to ask this government the same question: Why?” – Mirror

“Defines the state of the nation.” – Big Issue

“Stephen Armstrong's The New Poverty is a hard hitting expose of the problems and suffering of people who are at the lower end of the pay scale and therefore at the mercy of those who wish to take advantage. This book is very much in the mould of George Orwell's The Road To Wigan Pier and makes for uneasy, but essential reading.” – Richard Blair, Patron of the Orwell Society

About the Author

Stephen Armstrong is a journalist and author. He writes extensively for the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. He also appears occasionally on Radio 4 and Radio 2. His books include War PLC, The Super-Rich Shall Inherit the Earth and The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited.

Control and Repressive Technologies:
’Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today’ and
'The Politics of Borders: Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11'

Anna Feigenbaum in conversation with Matthew Longo
Wednesday 31st January, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

How are citizens are imagined through controlling and repressive technologies?
Join Anna Feigenbaum, author of Tear Gas, in conversation with Matthew Longo, author of The Politics of Borders

An engrossing century-spanning narrative, Tear Gas is the first history of this weapon, and takes us from military labs and chemical weapons expos to union assemblies and protest camps, drawing on declassified reports and witness testimonies to show how policing with poison came to be.

The story of how a chemical weapon went from the battlefield to the streets.

One hundred years ago, French troops fired tear gas grenades into German trenches. Designed to force people out from behind barricades and trenches, tear gas causes burning of the eyes and skin, tearing, and gagging. Chemical weapons are now banned from war zones. But today, tear gas has become the most commonly used form of “less-lethal” police force. In 2011, the year that protests exploded from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, tear gas sales tripled. Most tear gas is produced in the United States, and many images of protestors in Tahrir Square showed tear gas canisters with “Made in USA” printed on them, while Britain continues to sell tear gas to countries on its own human rights blacklist.

Borders sit at the center of global politics. Yet they are too often understood as thin lines, as they appear on maps, rather than as political institutions in their own right. The Politics of Borders takes a detailed look at the evolution of border security in the United States after 9/11. Far from the walls and fences that dominate the news, it reveals borders to be thick, multi-faceted and binational institutions that have evolved greatly in recent decades. The book contributes to debates within political science on sovereignty, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, human rights and global justice. In particular, the new politics of borders reveal a sovereignty that is not waning, but changing, expanding beyond the state carapace and engaging certain logics of empire.

Reviews

“A vivid history of the time and also - as good radical accounts should be - a source of encouragement to those fighting all too similar battles today” – Hilary Rose

“There is something epic about Anna Feigenbaum’s Tear Gas, its scope and intensity, the way that chemistry — the orienting science of the industrial revolution — provides the material to manage that revolution’s epic collapse . . . There is crucial knowledge to be found here.” – Joshua Clover, author of Riot.Strike.Riot

“A passionately argued history of the development and gradual spread of tear gas around the world . . . a clarion call for reassessment of the widespread availability and misuse of tear gas.” – Patrick Wicklen, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International

“Fascinating, deeply researched and lucid . . . We have become so accustomed to the use of tear gas during protests that it comes as a shock when we realize, in reading this book, how little we know about the longer-term effects of what is in some ways a chemical weapon.” – Laleh Khalili, author of Time in the Shadows

About the Author

Anna Feigenbaum is co-author of the book Protest Camps, and her work has appeared in Vice, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, Salon, Financial Times, Open Democracy, New Internationalist, and Waging Nonviolence. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her website is www.annafeigenbaum.com. Follow her on Twitter: @drfigtree.

Matthew Longo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University. Previously, he was the Clayman Junior Research Fellow in Politics and Political Ideas at St Anne's College, Oxford. He received his Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, Connecticut in 2014 and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Leo Strauss Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Political Philosophy. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science and Democratization, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and has been featured in the Washington Post and National Public Radio.

BOOK EVENT
‘Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic!

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door’
with contributors tbc
Wednesday 7th February, 7pm
Tickets available HERE

Contributors to this provocative and at times laugh-out-loud funny collection of subversive pieces challenge preconceptions of what it is to be a Muslim. Advance tickets essential.

How can you tell if your neighbour is speaking Muslim? Is a mosque a kind of hedgehog? Can I get fries with that burka? You can’t trust the media any longer, but there’s no need to fret: Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic provides you with the answers.

Read this book to learn how you too can spot an elusive Islamist. Discover how Arabs (even 21-year-old, largely innocuous and totally adorable ones) plant bombs and get tips about how to interact with Homeland Security, which may or may not involve funny discussions about your sexuality.

Commissioned in response to the US travel ban, Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic includes cartoons, graffiti, photography, colouring in pages, memoir, short stories and more by 34 contributors from around the world. Provocative and at times laugh-out-loud funny, these subversive pieces are an explosion of expression, creativity and colour.

Contributors: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Leila Aboulela, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Shadi Alzaqzouq, Chant Avedissian, Tammam Azzam, Bidisha, Chaza Charafeddine, Molly Crabapple, Carol Ann Duffy, Moris Farhi, Negin Farsad, Joumana Haddad, Saleem Haddad, Hassan Hajjaj, Omar Hamdi, Jennifer Jajeh, Sayed Kashua, Mazen Kerbaj, Arwa Mahdawi, Sabrina Mahfouz, Alberto Manguel, Esther Manito, Aisha Mirza, James Nunn, Chris Riddell, Hazem Saghieh, Rana Salam, Karl Sharro, Laila Shawa, Bahia Shehab, Sjón, Eli Valley, Alex Wheatle.

Sunday Times Best Humour Book of the Year 2017
‘Bursting with creativity, wit and intelligence’ Brian Eno

‘Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right’
with Liz Fekete
Wednesday 14th February, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

It is clear that the right is on the rise, but after Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the spike in popularity of extreme-right parties across Europe, the question on everyone’s minds is: how did this happen?

An expansive investigation of the ways in which a newly configured right interconnects with anti-democratic and illiberal forces at the level of the state, Europe’s Fault Lines provides much-needed answers, revealing some uncomfortable truths.

What appear to be “blind spots” about far-right extremism on the part of the state are shown to constitute collusion—as police, intelligence agencies and the military embark on practices of covert policing that bring them into direct or indirect contact with the far right, in ways that bring to mind the darkest days of Europe’s authoritarian past.

Old racisms may be structured deep in European thought, but they have been revitalised and spun in new ways: the war on terror, the cultural revolution from the right, and the migration-linked demonisation of the destitute “scrounger.” Drawing on more than three decades of work for the Institute of Race Relations, Liz Fekete exposes the fundamental fault lines of racism and authoritarianism in contemporary Europe.

Reviews

“Racism, for Liz Fekete, is the breeding ground of fascism, and her struggle to combat both—on the ground and in her writings—has earned her the reputation of being an intrepid organiser, an inspirational speaker and an organic intellectual.” – A. Sivanandan, Director Emiritus of the Institute of Race Relations

“For twenty-five years, Fekete relentlessly monitored Europe’s far right while the continent’s leaders preferred to look away. With right-wing extremism finally recognised by the mainstream as a fundamental threat to Europe’s future, her indictment of those who enabled, amplified, and aided the rise of the hard right is an essential contribution to the defense of democratic values.” – Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming

“For the twenty-five years I have known Liz Fekete she has been a tireless anti-racist and anti-fascist fighter, as well as a people’s intellectual and a political inspiration. Fekete brings that cumulative experience, insight and commitment to her brilliant new book, Europe’s Fault Lines, which maps the shifting terrain of racism and right wing populism in Europe, as well as continued forms of resistance. This book not only paints a gut-wrenching portrait of the vulgarity and violence of Neoliberalism, but through her clarity of analysis, Fekete gives us sustenance for the struggles that lay ahead.” – Barbara Ransby, author of Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs Paul Robeson

About the Author

Liz Fekete is Director of the Institute of Race Relations, where she has worked for over thirty years. She heads its European Research Programme (ERP) and is Advisory Editor to its journal Race & Class. She is the author of A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe.

BOOK EVENT
‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You. Celebrating Audre Lorde’
with speakers TBC
Wednesday 21st February, 7pm
Tickets available HERE

An evening exploring the work of writer, feminist, librarian, and civil rights activist, Audre Lorde. Your Silence Will Not Protect You (Silver Press 2017) brings Lorde’s essential poetry, speeches and essays together in one volume for the first time.

Audre Lorde (1934-92) described herself as ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’. Born in New York, she had her first poem published while still at school and her last the year she died of cancer. Her extraordinary belief in the power of language – of speaking – to articulate selfhood, confront injustice and bring about change in the world remains as transformative today as it was then, and no less urgent.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You (Silver Press 2017) brings Lorde’s essential poetry, speeches and essays, including ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’, together in one volume for the first time.

LOCOMOTRIX EVENT
'The Fountain in the Forest and the French Republican Calendar'
with Tony White and Dr Sanja Perovic
Thursday 22 February, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
Tickets available here

Tony White’s latest novel The Fountain in the Forest views the end of the UK Miners’ Strike through the lens of  the French Revolutionary Calendar. Join us for readings and discussion with Tony White and Dr Sanja Perovic from the Department of French, King’s College London.

The Fountain in the Forest (Faber and Faber) is a thriller that explores the legacy of a decisive period in recent British history, the ninety days between the end of the UK Miners’ Strike on 3 March and the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ on 1 June 1985.

When a brutally murdered man is found hanging in a Covent Garden theatre, Detective Sergeant Rex King becomes obsessed with the case. Who is this anonymous corpse, and why has he been ritually mutilated? But as Rex explores the crime scene further, the mystery deepens, and he finds himself confronting his own secret history instead. Who, more importantly, is Rex King? Shifting between Holborn Police Station, an abandoned village in rural 1980s France, and the Battle of the Beanfield at Stonehenge, The Fountain in the Forest transforms the traditional crime narrative into something dizzyingly unique.

White’s new novel also draws on research undertaken during his residency at King’s, and looks at the events of 1985 through the lens of the French Revolutionary Calendar. Funded by Creativeworks, Tony was Creative Entrepreneur in Residence in the Department of French at King’s College London, where he worked with Dr Sanja Perovic on a project exploring the work of British artist Stuart Brisley.

One of the most unusual decisions of the leaders of the French Revolution was to abandon customarily-accepted ways of calculating date and time to create a Revolutionary calendar. Perovic’s study traces the course of the Revolutionary Calendar, from its cultural origins to its decline and fall. Tracing the parallel stories of the calendar and the literary genius of its creator, Sylvain Maréchal, from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic era, Sanja Perovic reconsiders the status of the French Revolution as the purported ‘origin’ of modernity, the modern experience of time, and the relationship between the imagination and political action.

Reviews of Sanja Perovic

‘The Calendar in Revolutionary France is an exhilarating book that invites one to think about the calendar and its history in ways that move between different time scales and that complicate the terms through which we imagine historical periodization altogether.’ - Deborah Elise White, Nineteenth-Century French Studies

Reviews of Tony White

‘Rejecting familiar influences of the past 20 years, White joins a handful of contemporary writers who are proving that the novel has never been more alive. He is a serious, engaging voice of the modern city.’ - Michael Moorcock, Guardian

‘White is our nimblest political novelist … With Tony White’s fiction there is always an engaging lightness of touch, a deft ability to wind out stories that carry a freight-load of edgy material with a beguiling ease.’ 3am Magazine

About the Authors

Sanja Perovic is Senior Lecturer in French at King’s College London and co-director of the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s. Recent publications include The Calendar in Revolutionary France: Perceptions of Time in Literature, Culture, and Politics (Cambridge: CUP, 2012) and the edited volume Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France: Fragments of Religion (London: Continuum, 2011). She has also published more widely on the aesthetics and politics of time, from the early modern period to the present.

Tony White’s latest novel is The Fountain in the Forest. He is the author of five previous novels including Foxy-T and Shackleton’s Man Goes South, and the non-fiction work Another Fool in the Balkans, as well as novellas and numerous short stories published in journals, exhibition catalogues, and anthologies. White was creative entrepreneur in residence in the French department of King’s College London, and has been writer in residence at London’s Science Museum and the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies. He recently collaborated with artists Blast Theory on the libraries live-streaming project A Place Free Of Judgement, and currently chairs the board of London’s award-winning arts radio station Resonance 104.4fm.

Left Book Club present:
‘A Party with Socialists in It:

A History of the Labour Left’ with Simon Hannah
Saturday 24th February, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

For over a hundred years, the British Labour Party has been a bastion for working class organisation and struggle. However, has it ever truly been on the side of the workers? Where do its interests really lie? And can we rely on it to provide a barrier against right-wing forces? By looking into its history, this book shines a light on the internal dynamics of the 'party with socialists in it'.

From its origins in the late nineteenth century, the Labour Party was uncomfortably divided between a metropolitan liberal and a working class milieu, which characterises the party to this very day. This history guides us through the Bevanite movement and the celebrated government of Clement Attlee, to the emergence of a New Left that was highly sceptical of the Labour party during the Wilson era. It explores the move towards Blairism and the disheartening story of the decline of the Labour Left after their historic defeat in the 1980s.

With the emergence of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party's fate rests in the balance. Will they reconcile their internal divisions or split into obscurity?

Published in partnership with the Left Book Club.

Reviews

'The rise to prominence of Jeremy Corbyn has made relevant again the history of the Labour Left from which he comes. But that history is not generally known. Simon Hannah has therefore done us a great service. At a very crucial time in British politics, his book helps us to fill in important gaps in our knowledge' - David Coates, author of Prolonged Labour: The Slow Birth of New Labour in Britain

'A well-timed explanation of the class contradictions at the root of the Labour Party from its creation to the present day' - Graham Bash, Labour Briefing

'This informative and thought-provoking historical account allows us to assess the Party's history, whilst acknowledging that the progressive movement inspired by Corbyn's leadership is something new and exciting' - Liz Davies, Labour Party Activist

About the author

Simon Hannah
is a writer and political activist. He is the author of A Party with Socialists in It (Pluto 2018). His work has been featured in Open Democracy and New Left Project. He is currently researching at King's College the municipal socialist movement of the 1980s. He is an active trade unionist and a member of the Labour Party.


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